Hat tip: Good Product Team Bad Product Team

Good Product Team Bad Product Team

Pressed from
Posted by marty cagan on June 13, 2014 with a hat tip to 
Ben Horowitz’s classic Good Product Manager/Bad Product Manager 

“Good teams obsess over their reference customers. Bad teams obsess over competitors.”

I’ve had the extremely good fortune to be able to work with many of the very best technology product teams in the world. People creating the products you use and love every day.  Teams that are literally changing the world.

I’ve also been brought in to try to help with companies that are not doing so well.  Startups racing to get some traction before the money runs out.  Larger companies struggling to replicate their early innovation.  Teams failing to continuously add value to their business.  Leaders frustrated with how long it takes to go from idea to reality.  Engineers exasperated with their product owners. 

Read more >> Good Product Team Bad Product Team.

The Future of Product Management

I came across this recent blog which made me realize just how good our whole product team has it next week at the Pragmatic Marketing training. Sure we share our thoughts, ideas, strategies all day long and then at 30,000 feet in Monday huddles, but having the same tools and education ought to make the team unstoppable!

Here is an excerpt from Lauren Maddeo’s post, click on the link below to read the extensive and well written project management article.

– Product managers make the most crucial decisions in any tech company today. Yet despite all the advances in software innovation, the product management discipline is still immature. Without the right tools, education, and guidance, product managers are flying blind.

via The Future of Product Management.

The Decision Matrix – A Product Manager’s Tool

Product Manager's Decision Matrix

Over the years of managing projects I have learned that sometimes a decision needs to be made from a set of options that are all good choices. This is why I find the decision matrix to be one of the most helpful tools in assessing options. The decision matrix assigns weight to each solution characteristic and asks you to evaluate how much each option contributes to that characteristic on a numerical scale of 1 to 5. The image below shows you how a decision matrix would be used.

Product Manager Decision Matrix

To run through it quickly, it is important to assign a higher weight to the characteristics that are most important. In this case the product revenue is more important than number of products launched (here called front list regarding publications), which was more important than the project managers opinion, or better know as experience score.

It goes like this: Assign a score to each option. Multiply by weight and total each option in the last box. In this example two decisions have weight the same. Conditional formatting is used to make the total more visual – note that these are possibly all good options.

The decision matrix, as in this case, may produces options that do not differ much from each other. Once you study the chart you will understand why this is helpful when you need to explain your choice. In this example, after some additional discussion with the sales team, option 4 was chosen, which has equal weight to option 1. The decision matrix allows for a much better answer when the boss asks, “Why did you choose an option that reduces product that will be launched?” And you can say, with more wisdom and foresight, that while option 4 would clearly lowered new product releases this year, the fit with the product strategy and projected increase in this year’s revenue, along with other insight contributed from the sale team, made option 4 clearly the best viable solution.

In this example a choice was made between two equal scoring options. Sometimes you may choose a lower scoring option when it is a more viable solution.

Remember, the decision matrix is a tool that helps you make better decisions. The option you ultimately choose is the option that you, with insight and collaboration with cross-functional teams, believe will have the most significant impact on a decision.